The Software I Use To be More Productive – 2014

Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

As you may be aware, I am obsessed with improving  my productivity.
There’s only 24 hours in a day and I want to make the most of each hour.
When you’re spending all day on the computer like I am, the right software can make your life easier.

  • I brainstorm better because of MindManager
  • I effectively communicate and assign tasks to my team with Asana
  • I have unique passwords for each login, and it takes me 1 hotkey to enter my password to any website because of 1pass.

I think that the sum of being more productive through the proper software is a competitive advantage. It’s the difference between someone that can speed type, and someone that has to hunt and peck to type.
You’re going to see that most of the software are going to be Mac exclusive, because I’ve been using OSX for the past 5 years. I don’t consider myself an Apple fanboy since I’m on an Android phone. I simply use what’s the best, and I work much better using an Apple. 
I’ve tested out hundreds of software the past few years and these are the ones I use every single day.  Some of them cost money but I consider them an investment. Also remember that if you google,  there are sometimes comparable software online for free.
If you have any suggestions for me then please share in the comments.
What: To do List Manager
Operating System: Mac Only
Price: $80
Notes: This is my to do list manager, and I believe it is the best in the world. If you want a resource to get started with it, then check out Asian Efficiency’s free series.

What: Pomodoro Timer
Operating System: Mac Only
Price: $19.99
Notes: What I use to count pomodoros (focused work sessions). I do think it is overpriced though and there are plenty of options. If you want a free option then check out Focusbooster.
What: Calendar App
Operating System: Mac Only
Price: $49.99
Notes: The best calendar app on Mac.
What: Email client
Operating System: Windows, Mac
Price: $9.95
Notes: The email client I use. 

What: Call/Messaging
Operating System: Windows/Mac/Linux
Price: Free
Notes: Not much to explain about this but 100% of my instant messaging is done through Skype, and I don’t use MSN,  AOL, etc.
What: Cloud Music
Operating System: Mac/Windows
Price: Free w/ ads, $9.99/mo for premium
Notes: I like to play music when I work and I think the premium is worth it. Check out my Relaxing Work Music Playlist.
What: File Organizer
Operating System: Mac Only
Price: $28
Notes: a must-have for mac. It automatically follow rules you set, and sorts files into folders. For example, all my mp3’s automatically get sorted into a Music folder.  

What: Writing
Operating System: Mac/Windows
Price: $40
Notes: Writing a novel or an e-book. This is a powerhouse editor that makes it easier to organize.
What: Information Organizer
Operating System: Mac/Windows
Price: Free, $5/mo premium
Notes: I use my evernote multiple times a day. Here’s an example of how I use it – I have a notebook just for amazing ads. If I see an ad online that I like, I’ll put it in my evernote. In the future when I want inspiration for new ads, I have 1000+ images I can look at.
What: Work Flow Manager / Kanban Board
Operating System: Mac/Windows
Price: Free
Notes: I’ll write a post explaining how I use Kan Bab in the future, but Kan bans are how I organize my daily tasks. Each day I’ll take a few tasks from my Omnifocus and put them in my Kan Board. As I work on a task, it’ll move through the columns. The idea is you can only have 1 item in the “progress” mode. The benefit is I am only focused on one task at a time, and I have a visual representation of what I’ve done and will do.
What: Emulates Coffee shop noise
Operating System: Mac/Android
Price: Free
Notes: This is a fun app. You turn it on and it makes sounds like you’re in a coffee shop. I like to play this in the morning when I drink coffee.
What: Tracks Internet Usage
Operating System: Mac/Windows
Price: Free for lite, $9/mo for premium
Notes: Want to reach Ngo levels of productivity? You need this. It tracks how much time you are wasting on the internet. The first step to improving is awareness.
What: Helps avoid distracting websites
Operating System: Mac Only
Price: Free
Notes: This blocks distracting websites. When I mean block, I mean I could restart my computer, uninstall this app, and the websites are still blocked.
What: Password Manager
Operating System: Mac/Windows/Android/iOS
Price: $49.99 for single-user license, $55.99 for family license
Notes: Must have. Please don’t tell me you are using the same password on all your logins. Not only does this help security, but I save so much time. Instead of typing in a password for each website, I hit a hotkey and it fills it out.
What: Cloud Storage
Operating System: Mac/Windows/iPhone/Android/Blackberry
Price: Free. $9.99/month for premium
Notes: There are plenty of free cloud storage these days, but I prefer Dropbox over them all due its integration with so many services.
What: TrackPad Enhancer
Operating System: Mac Only
Price: $7.99
Notes: I don’t use a mouse at all, instead I use an external Apple Magic Trackpad. To get the most out of it I use JiTouch. Don’t ask what, just get it.
What: Online Backup
Operating System: Mac/Windows
Price: 59.99/yr for personal, $269.99/yr for pro
Notes: You need to backup your information.
What: Remote Desktop Login
Operating System: Mac/iPhone/Android
Price: $9.99 Android, $14.99 iPhone, $29.99 Mac
Notes: To do remote login. For example if one of my employees is having trouble with a task, I can log into his computer and see what’s going on. I find JumpDesktop to be better than a lot of other software.
What: Screen Color Adjuster
Operating System: Windows/Mac/Linux/iPhone/iPad
Price: Free
Notes: Must have. When your computer screen is super bright at night, your body still think it’s daytime and that makes it harder to sleep.
Default Folder X 
What: File Sorter
Operating System: Mac Only
Price: $34.95
Notes: As soon as I download a file, it helps me put it in the correct folder fast.
What: Application launcher, file finder
Operating System: Mac Only
Price: Free
Notes: This is pretty much a beefed up version of the Apple Spotlight.
What: Team Collaboration Software
Operating System: Online only
Price: Free for up to 15 members. $50/mo+
Notes: My favorite software for a company to do list. Founded by former members of Facebook and Google.
Mindjet MindManager
What: Mind Mapping Software
Operating System: Windows/Mac
Price: $349
Notes: The standard for mindmapping software. Check out my guide to mindmapping

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                The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

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